A man checking out aerial views of his former Florida neighbourhood on Google Earth helped officials discover the skeleton of a man missing for more than 20 years.

The remains of William Moldt, who was reported missing November 8, 1997, were found in a Palm Beach County pond in a “heavily calcified” vehicle that the former resident, who officials did not identify, first spotted using Google Earth.

He contacted the property’s current resident, who used a drone to confirm the discovery before notifying the sheriff’s office.

I called the former owner of my house and asked if she knew about this,” the man told. “She was shocked.”

Deputies found the car in the retention pond in Wellington late last month, NBC affiliate WPTV of West Palm Beach reported. The sheriff’s office said that the remains were positively identified as Moldt’s on Tuesday.

In 1997, Moldt, then 40, called his girlfriend from a bar around 9:30 p.m. the night before he was reported missing and said he would be home soon.He left the nightspot around 11 p.m. and did not appear drunk, WPTV reported, citing the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System website.